How did you get into writing? I’ve always been creative and loved writing stories as a child. I went on to study literature at school and university. My older brother, Gareth L Powell, is an award winning author. He showed me that anything is possible if you have enough passion and you work hard. I’ve also been inspired by children’s authors who write exciting stories that feed the imagination, such as J R R Tolkien, Sir Terry Pratchett and J K Rowling.
What was your favourite book as a child? My favourite is probably The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, which has inspired generations of fantasy writers. I also enjoyed reading the Adventure series by Willard Price, which followed teenage brothers Hal and Roger Hunt around the world to study exotic and dangerous animals.
How long does it take to write a novel? It varies by author and by book, depending on how much research is required and how much time you have to write. Authors can take anything from a few months to a few years to write their first drafts. It took me 2 years to write Spacejackers, because I had a full time job, but the more you write, the easier it gets. It only took me 8 months to draft Spacejackers: The Lost Sword.
Are any of your characters based on real people? Yes and no. None of my characters are based wholly on real people, but some of them share certain traits with friends and family (e.g. they might have the same habits or turn of phrase). Jake Cutler is not based on a single person, though when writing his scenes, I often ask myself: ‘How would I react in that situation?’
Any tips for aspiring writers? Yes, stop talking about writing and do it. Why be an aspiring writer, when you can pick up a pen and be an actual writer? If a full novel seems like a big commitment, start with something smaller to develop your style, like a short story. Don’t worry about perfecting the first few pages, just get the story down as quickly as possible and then go back and edit it. Also, don’t be in a hurry to get published. You only ever get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s worth waiting until you’re sure you’ve written a winner!